Lucifer the Lightbringer
One of the most slanderous, ignorant, and utterly false accusations that has been repeatedly directed at H.P. Blavatsky and against Theosophists in general over the years is the claim that Theosophy is a form of satanism and that Madame Blavatsky was a devil worshipper.
To a Theosophist, such an assertion is as laughable as it is ridiculous and nonsensical.
Those accusations and condemnations originate primarily from the realm of Christianity and from those of its adherents who believe in a personal anthropomorphic God and a personal anthropomorphic devil, the supposed enemy of that God.
Considering the fact that Lucifer and Satan have come to be viewed as synonymous terms and names for the same entity, it is not too hard to see why our Christian friends have jumped to such a conclusion, seeing as the Theosophical magazine started in England in the late 1880s by HPB was titled “Lucifer” and that in her masterpiece work “The Secret Doctrine” she speaks of Lucifer in positive and glowing terms.
But there are several important points which need to be understood…
#1. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the term “Lucifer” nor on its definition. The Christian concept and definition of the term “Lucifer” is merely the latest in a long line of definitions and interpretations of this pre-Christian term.
#2. The word “Lucifer” occurs only once in the entire Bible. This is in Isaiah 14:12, which says: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Those who read this verse in its actual context will clearly see that the sentence is applied specifically to a certain Babylonian king who was an enemy in war of the Israelites. The original Hebrew text uses the word הֵילֵל which literally means “bright star” or “shining one,” a term applied sarcastically or mockingly by the Israelites to this particular enemy of theirs. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible – one of the chief of whom was the well known Rosicrucian initiate Dr Robert Fludd, a fact which will no doubt shock and horrify many Christians – chose to translate this word with the Latin word “Lucifer.”
#3. “Lucifer” literally means Lightbringer, Lightbearer, Bringer of Dawn, Shining One, or Morning Star. The word has no other meaning. Historically and astronomically, the term “Morning Star” has always been applied to the planet Venus.
#4. Since the only occurrence of the word “Lucifer” in the Bible is that one verse in Isaiah, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible which says that Lucifer is Satan or the devil. It was Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) who was the first person to apply that passage of scripture to Satan and thus to equate Lucifer with Satan. But even then this notion didn’t catch on in a big way until the much more recent popularisation of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” in which Lucifer is used as another name for Satan, the evil adversary of God. Also, such luminaries of the Christian world as Martin Luther and John Calvin considered it “a gross error” to apply Isaiah 14:12 to the devil, “for the context plainly shows these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians.”
#5. Thus the Christians who claim that Lucifer is the devil actually have no Biblical basis or authority for such a belief. Though they may claim to be “Bible believing Christians” whose faith is built solely on “the Word of God” they are actually followers – in this and many other respects – of Christian religious tradition and not of the Christian Bible. Or have they quietly conferred divine infallibility upon the Pope and Milton without informing the rest of the world?
#6. H.P. Blavatsky was never at any point in her life a Christian, gave no credence to Christian theology and did not believe in any type of personal or anthropomorphic God nor in any type of personal or anthropomorphic devil. She believed and taught that there is but ONE Infinite Divine Life which is everything and in everything and that It has no adversary or enemy, since there is nothing but That – the boundless, impersonal, omnipresent Principle of Absolute Existence Itself. She was against the notion of worshipping or praying to anyone or anything. She taught that evil is really imperfection, which is the automatic and inevitable byproduct of the existence of matter.
Now let us take a look at some of the statements HPB made about Lucifer in “The Secret Doctrine”…
* “Esoteric philosophy admits neither good nor evil per se, as existing independently in nature. The cause for both is found, as regards the Kosmos, in the necessity of contraries or contrasts, and with respect to man, in his human nature, his ignorance and passions. There is no devil or the utterly depraved, as there are no Angels absolutely perfect, though there may be spirits of Light and of Darkness; thus LUCIFER – the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought – is metaphorically the guiding beacon, which helps man to find his way through the rocks and sandbanks of Life, for Lucifer is the LOGOS in his highest, and the “Adversary” in his lowest aspect – both of which are reflected in our Ego.” (Vol. 2, p. 162)
* “In antiquity and reality, Lucifer, or Luciferus, is the name of the angelic Entity presiding over the light of truth as over the light of the day. In the great Valentinian gospel Pistis Sophia it is taught that of the three Powers emanating from the Holy names of the Three Tριδυνάμεις, that of Sophia (the Holy Ghost according to these gnostics – the most cultured of all) resides in the planet Venus or Lucifer.” (Vol. 2, p. 512)
* “It is but natural – even from the dead letter standpoint – to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the “Harbinger of Light,” bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: “in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil” – can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour. An “adversary” to Jehovah the “personating spirit,” he still remains in esoteric truth the ever-loving “Messenger” (the angel), the Seraphim and Cherubim who both knew well, and loved still more, and who conferred on us spiritual, instead of physical immortality – the latter a kind of static immortality that would have transformed man into an undying “Wandering Jew”.” (Vol. 2, p. 243)
* “The Fall was the result of man’s knowledge, for his “eyes were opened.” Indeed, he was taught Wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the “Fallen Angel,” for the latter had become from that day his Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life – periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan – is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutratma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescent Egos are strung as so many beads – according to the beautiful expression of Vedantic philosophy.
“And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the “Lord of Phosphorus” (brimstone was a theological improvement), and Lucifer, or “Light-Bearer,” is in us: it is our Mind – our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. Without this principle – the emanation of the very essence of the pure divine principle Mahat (Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine mind – we would be surely no better than animals.” (Vol. 2, p. 513)
So we see that in the teachings of Theosophy – which are at times deliberately symbolical, allegorical, and esoteric – the Lightbringer or Bringer of Dawn (Lucifer in Latin) is our Mind Principle, our individual self-consciousness and spark of intelligence, which was awakened in mankind around the middle period of the Third Root Race, also known as the Lemurian Epoch. Our mind can either be our adversary (which is what the word “satan” literally means) or it can be the lightbearer (the Lucifer) of spiritual Truth to us, the knowledge of which brings about our liberation from ignorance, including spiritual self-ignorance.
Jose M. Herrou Aragon, in his book “Primordial Gnosis: The Forbidden Religion,” writes…
“According to Gnostic legends and myths, the great Unknowable God sent Lucifer, angel of indescribable fire and light, to show man the light and to help him wake up and see his true origin, the origin of his Spirit, which has been perversely imprisoned in this impure matter called body-soul.
He is an uncreated being, who came to the created world to bring Light: Liberating Gnosis. The saving knowledge which can wake man up and help him free his imprisoned Spirit. The knowledge which allows him to know who he truly is, why he is here in this world and what he has to do to liberate himself and fulfil his Spirit, which belongs to another uncreated and unknowable plane.
“We have said that Lucifer came to the world to wake man up, to help him remember his divine origin, the divine origin of his Spirit, and to help him free himself from the body-soul in which he is trapped, and from created time and matter.”
Theosophy interprets all these allegorical Gnostic teachings as referring to “the lighting up of Manas” (Manas is the Sanskrit word for Mind) which we mentioned above. When we bear in mind that “The Secret Doctrine” teaches that the Lemurian Root Race was born under the influence of Venus and received its “light and life” from the Planetary Spirit of Venus, it all becomes clearer, since Lucifer has been an accepted synonym for Venus – the bright and morning star – since long before the days of Christian theology and millennia before Lucifer was first ignorantly equated with the devil.
In “The Secret Doctrine” we read that “Venus, or Lucifer (also Sukra and Usanas) the planet, is the Light-Bearer of our Earth, in both its physical and mystic sense.” Venus is said to be the “spiritual prototype” of Earth and “the Guardian Spirit of the Earth and Men.” It is “the most occult, powerful, and mysterious of all the planets; the one whose influence upon, and relation to the Earth is most prominent” and every change that takes place on Venus “is felt on, and reflected by, the Earth.”
Since it would take too long and also be out of place here to try to explain all of this to the reader unfamiliar with Theosophy, we can sum up by saying that what H.P. Blavatsky has to say about Lucifer is entirely esoteric, symbolical, and philosophical. Those four excerpts quoted above are virtually the only specific statements and explanations she ever made about Lucifer, although fanatical Christians and half-crazed conspiracy theorists like to give the impression that she spent almost all her time ranting and raving about Lucifer, which is simply not true.
As for the reason her magazine was named “Lucifer,” she wrote in its very first article – titled “What’s in a Name?” – that “the first and most important, if not the sole object of the magazine, is expressed in the line from the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, on its title page. It is to bring light to “the hidden things of darkness,” (iv. 5); to show in their true aspect and their original real meaning things and names, men and their doings and customs; it is finally to fight prejudice, hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every department of life. The task is a laborious one but it is neither impracticable nor useless, if even as an experiment. Thus, for an attempt of such nature, no better title could ever be found than the one chosen. … No fitter symbol exists for the proposed work – that of throwing a ray of truth on everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life, which, once that a certain action, a thing, a name, has been branded by slanderous inventions, however unjust, makes respectable people, so called, turn away shiveringly, refusing to even look at it from any other aspect than the one sanctioned by public opinion. Such an endeavour then, to force the weak-hearted to look truth straight in the face, is helped most efficaciously by a title belonging to the category of branded names.”
But as she was later to remark, the ignorant and erroneous belief that Lucifer = Satan “has struck its roots too deep in the soil of blind faith” to allow many people to bravely, boldly, and unashamedly reveal the true origins and true nature of what the so-called Lucifer actually is. Those who attempt to do so are always bound to be immediately labelled as “satanists” and “devil worshippers” by a certain class of Christian, those whose trademark characteristics invariably tend to be wilful ignorance and mental laziness. It has indeed become a “branded name,” one which still automatically conjures up the image of an anthropomorphic devil even in the minds of the most hardened atheists.
Yet who can deny that even Jesus is portrayed as boldly proclaiming his identity with Venus the Lightbringer in Revelation 22:16, where he says “I, Jesus, am the bright and morning star.” If the translators had chosen to translate this verse using Latin just as they did with Isaiah 14:12, it would read “I, Jesus, am Lucifer.”
Theosophists are not afraid of public opinion or misguided prejudice, nor of the claims and threats of Christianity, that most arrogant, ignorant, and impudent of all the world’s religions. “There is no religion higher than Truth” – and eventually, as always, the Truth will prevail.